Tag: word origins

London tube names

London Underground: the origins of some unusual names

Have you ever wondered how some of the more unusual sounding tube stops in London got their name? Taking a look at the origins of London Underground stations’ names is, of course, pretty much the same as exploring the origins of place names: almost all of them are named after the areas they serve. Locals […]

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month names

How did the months get their names?

As the new year starts you might have recently bought a new diary or calendar and thought ‘Where do these words come from?’ – at least that’s what I did. There is also, of course, also the chance that you have been merrily scheduling in gym appointments and book clubs and all sorts of other […]

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words that defined 2015 part two

From austerity to refugee: the words that defined 2015, part two

In late December, we took a look at satire, transgender, and other words that defined the first six months of 2015. Here’s the second and final part of our end-of-year roundup. austerity July The ongoing drama of the troubled Greek economy entered its final phase in the month of July this year when the governing […]

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farm pigs

Pig, dog, hog, and other etymologies from the farm

Old MacDonald had a farm. And on that farm he had a dog. And a frog, hog, pig, and stag. Old MacDonald even had an earwig. Dog, earwig, frog, hog, pig, and stag – as well as the more obscure haysugge (‘hedge-sparrow’) and teg (‘yearling sheep’) – form a curious set of words in the English language. You’ve probably already noticed some features they have in common: they refer to […]

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Where does the expression ‘currying favour’ come from?

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railway and train phrases

Terms and phrases from trains and railways

We’ve been letting the train take the strain when it comes to moving ourselves or goods from A to B for around 200 years. Although there were locomotive steam engines (that is, engines that moved as opposed to fixed ones) in operation some years before George Stephenson’s pioneering invention the Rocket was launched in 1829, […]

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Video: what is the origin of the word ‘ye’?

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words that defined 2015 satire

From satire to transgender: the words that defined 2015, part one

As the year is drawing to a close, we have decided to take a look back at the events that shaped the past twelve months – and the words connected to them. Here is the first part of our end-of-year retrospective of the twelve words that defined 2015… satire January On 7 January, two armed […]

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